Benefits of Living in Community: Group Projects

I HATE group projects. I know a lot of you introverts are with me on this one.
Your teacher announces that the science project is going to be a group project. Half the class cheers in anticipation of passing notes, flirting, giggling, shooting rubber bands with their friends during the next week’s class time and the other half groans knowing they are going to end up doing the majority of the work while being ignored and will be receiving a much lower grade than usual because someone (if not several someone’s ) will slack off and not turn in some vital part of the project, turning your usual A into a C-. Even betters if the teacher allows the group to pick their own members, which creates the torture of “picking teams” that you feign your period three weeks out of the month to avoid.
When you beg your teacher to let you do the whole project alone, she tells you that this is a necessary process to learn how to work in groups because you will be working in groups at your job for your entire life. She lied. Sort of. I have never in my work life had to do a project that required me to share credit with a bunch of flirting, giggling, co workers while dodging rubber bands. In all my jobs, the work I do, I get credit for, and most of the time, I work alone. Sure, I work with a team, but it is best if all the members do what their specific job description calls for.
However, I have needed this skill in real life, usually with church, volunteer, or event activities when I have been thrown in a group with other women with whom I have just been introduced to “decorate the church for a wedding” or something similar.
No one knows each others personalities, strengths, weaknesses, talents, so it takes at least a half an hour of saying things like “I don’t know about this idea- I’m not really sure either -does anyone know what the bride wants -is this ivy upside down?- when I said cut the lemons, I meant pinwheels, not wedges” Eventually, the artist gets stuck calculating how much ribbon is needed for 180 pews, the athletic one is painting the backdrop, and the math whiz is hanging ivy from the rafters. No one is happy and nothing is done the best it could be.
This is where living in community has its definite advantages. We get projects completed in about half the time as a similar group who didn’t know each other time to tiptoe and feel each other out. For example, we were once asked to make benches and a table for a Maundy Thursday dinner at our church. Mike designed them and we had a beautiful, sturdy, table and benches completed and stained in about two hours. Everyone had a place and knew their place and got it done. We know not to put Denise on a high ladder, Mike in charge of artistically drawing or painting things, Patrick in charge of organizing everyone, or me in charge of anything requiring physical strength or coordination. We know without thinking about it who would be the best where, and we also don’t have to worry about hurting each others feelings if we present a different or new idea. An added benefit is that sometimes it’s pretty fun to decorate for a wedding, build a table, put together a yard sale, or throw a party with my best friends.


One thought on “Benefits of Living in Community: Group Projects

  1. Pingback: It’s Friday! May 31, 2013 | Jessica Veldstra

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